From forgotten lines to freezing up in front of the casting director, there are times when a budding child actor has what their parents fear the most; a bad audition.
But you know what? A bad audition isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, if you handle it the right way, you can turn a seemingly terrible experience into an opportunity to learn, for both parents and their little stars-in-the-making.
This one is for the mums and dads out there, and it’s super important for every audition (not just the bad ones).
As soon as your child leaves that audition room, smile and tell them well done. At this point, you will likely have no idea how the audition went so be as positive as you can and save the discussion about the audition for somewhere private away from other children and parents.
Once you get back to the car or away from the audition room, you can ask them how they think things went. Your child will feel much more comfortable talking to you about their feelings in private so try your best to find a nice quiet spot and give them a chance to do so. You can read more about the challenges parents of child performers need to prepare and staying positive.
Don’t be too hard on your child (or yourself!)
Look, everyone has an off day and let’s face it, children are far more entitled to off days than grownups. They are kids after all.
Auditioning for a role in front of a group of strangers can be a little overwhelming even for professional actors and butterflies in the tummy can do weird things to the best of us. So take a breath and try to take the positives from the experience without focusing too much on the perceived negatives.
Above all else, NEVER lay blame at anyone’s door for a lack of preparation or effort. Even with all the preparation in the world, there are times when things just don’t click, and unfortunately, this just happened to be one of those occasions.
Talk about disappointment
It’s okay to feel disappointed. We’d even go so far as to say it’s healthy. You see, feeling disappointed shows that you care and that can have a positive effect on both a child and parent.
Talk it through and acknowledge any disappointment. However, parents should make it absolutely clear that they are not disappointed in their child’s efforts. They are simply disappointed that things didn’t go as well as they could have.
Make sure you both understand the odds
Most parents will understand that in any audition the odds of success are slim. Yes, every child starts on an equal footing but with so many aspiring child actors vying for the same role, it takes something special to wow a casting director. Some actors even say that it takes almost 100 auditions before they land a job.
It’s extremely important that children understand this so when they do have a bad audition (and they will have one), it’s not the end of the world. Even if they had aced it, there’s still no guarantee that they would have landed the role.
Ideally, a child actor will know all of this before they start going to auditions, but it’s always a good idea to remind them especially when they’re feeling down.
Ask what they would have done differently
Casting directors never give feedback on unsuccessful auditions, so it’s important to listen to your child. Ask them what they would change about their performance or if there is anything they think they could have done a little better.
Kids can be surprisingly mature when it comes to self-criticism. They often know exactly what it is that they need to work on and will usually be quite honest and straightforward about it. Remember though; this is a conversation that needs to happen somewhere private where your child feels relaxed and safe.
Take everything on board, and both you and your child can use this to prepare yourselves a little better the next time around.
Let it go
Auditions come and go, and as we mentioned earlier, there will always be another one on the horizon.
Sure you can talk about the disappointment and figure out ways to improve your child’s future chances, but that discussion needs to happen on the day of the audition as soon as you find that quiet spot. And once you’ve had your little chat, put it all to bed and move on.
Don’t bring it up again and NEVER dwell on missed opportunities.
Yes, we’re going to say it again; let it go. You’ll have that song stuck in your head all day now, right?
Okay, so this might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many children and parents are ready to throw in the towel after the first bad audition.
Don’t give up after the first bad experience. Rejection is part of child acting, and the sooner you get used to it, the more you’ll enjoy yourselves at auditions. It’s just like learning to ride a bike; when you fall, you get back on and try again.
If you’ve already had a bad auditioning experience or you’re getting ready for your next big opportunity to shine, you can check out our post on prepping for an audition. In it, you’ll find some simple pointers on getting ready for the big day.
If you’d prefer something a little more in-depth, our new ebook Bubblegum Casting’s Comprehensive Guide to Auditioning is packed with detailed information and actionable tips, and it’s available for download right now.